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Art Museum to Open New Parking Facility Noted for Green Design and Landscape Features

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today that construction of its new parking garage will be completed in just a few weeks. Nestled into the hillside on the Museum’s west side, it will increase parking capacity for the Museum by 442 spaces and provide exceptional overlooks to the Schuylkill River from its rooftop sculpture garden that will be finished later this year and become integral to the visitor experience. The boulders excavated from the hillside during construction have been repositioned into dramatic landscaped terraces that surround the garage and echo the former terraces, created around the main Museum building in the 1920s. The facility has been praised by the Environmental Protection Agency for its low-impact, environmentally sensitive and responsible systems and design ranging from building materials to storm water management. It will open to the public on February 20, 2009, just before many thousands of visitors begin to arrive for the special exhibition Cézanne and Beyond (February 26-May 17, 2009).

“The design team has created an extraordinary facility which brings fresh air and natural light into the garage, and extends city parkland with a rooftop sculpture garden which offers spectacular vistas encompassing the Water Works, Boat House Row, Lemon Hill and the Azalea Garden, all crown jewels of Fairmont Park,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer Gail Harrity. “The additional parking will also improve public access to the Museum and the collections, especially during such major exhibitions as Cézanne and Beyond.”

The facility’s 26,000-square-foot “green roof” is among its sustainable design features. The rooftop will become a garden setting, and sculpture from the Museum’s collection and loans from public and private collections will be placed on view for the public’s enjoyment later in the year. The depth of soil – coordinated with structural requirements of the garage, garden and sculpture – ranges from one to five feet, to enable the planting of large trees and shrubs of all-season interest. “We are enormously excited about the opening of the outdoor sculpture garden later this year, which will allow us to exhibit monumental works that cannot be accommodated in our galleries,” Interim Head of Curatorial Affairs Alice Beamesderfer said. The sculpture garden will be free of charge and completely accessible to the community and users of Fairmount Park.

The project team, led by Robert Morrone of the Art Museum, included Michael Schade and Tony Atkin of Atkin Olshin Schade architects, Laurie Olin and Susan Weiler of OLIN landscape architects, Jeffrey Hutwelker and Joseph Amicone of LF Driscoll construction managers, and a host of design consultants, and construction contractors.

In July 2008 the Museum was recognized by the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office with its first Leading By Example certificate of excellence in conjunction with the garage project. The EPA recognized the project for “Leading By Example by providing leadership in developing a truly remarkable and innovative design that incorporates energy efficiencies and protects the waters of Philadelphia.”

Public parking for visitors will be available during Museum hours at $10 for the first four hours and $2 for each additional hour. Member rates are discounted to $8. These rates will also apply for parking in the Museum’s existing terrace lot. In addition to car parking, the new garage provides parking space for 20 bicycles free of charge.

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